Populist, anti-Islam PVV to stand alone at the elections
The VVD will not team up with the PVV after the elections coming up in March, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on television program Buitenhof on Saturday. And with that Geert Wilders and his anti-Islam populist party has no one to cooperate with after the elections - each political party has excluded working with the PVV, the Volkskrant reports.
Rutte said that the "probability is not 0.1, but zero that the VVD will govern with the PVV", on Buitenhof. "It's not going to happen." Previously the PvdA, CDA, D66, GroenLinks and SP already closed the door on working with the PVV.
Wilders did not take Rutte's statements well. In an interview with the Telegraaf he accused the Prime Minister of being alight with "the arrogance of power" and turning his back on "perhaps millions of voters." "The voter can show on March 15th what he thinks of this policy of exclusion and condemnation", Wilders said to the newspaper. According to him, a vote lost on CDA, D66, GroenLinks and PvdA, because the next cabinet will probably consist of these parties. "So Rutte will make the Netherlands a country even longer governed by center-left." Wilders expects "more immigration, more EU, even higher environmental taxes and more Islam" int he country's future.
VVD leader Rutte cited three main reasons for not working with the PVV on the television program: the failed collaboration between the two parties in the first Rutte cabinet, the PVV's socioeconomic course, and fundamental objections to Wilders' statements - particularly his statements regarding fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands during 2014 election campaigns and his verbal attacks on the judges that sat over the hate speech trial against him because of those statements.
"That does not mean that we exclude the voters of the PVV", the Prime Minister added. "There are many people who feel that politics no longer stand for them, who have great concerns about our country. It is decent people who vote for the PVV. With those voters I want to have a conversation. I want to show that Wilders is not the leader who will solve the problems."
With that Rutte put an end to any ambiguity regarding the VVD's stance when it comes to the PVV. He also freed himself of accusations from other parties in the coming weeks that he will make a PVV cabinet possible. Left-wing parties GroenLinks and the PvdA were particularly concerned about this. PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher spoke about it again at his party's congress in Utrecht on Sunday. "Now that all over Europe politicians are rattling the gates with a toxic cocktail of fear, hatred and division, we have to offer a social and decent alternative to a coalition with Wilders and the PVV." he said, according to the Volkskrant.
Asscher also spoke out against Wilders election slogan: "Netherlands ours again". "If you look at who he spits on: People with a non-western background, Muslims, judges, scientists, parliamentarians, anyone who disagrees with him. Who is he referring to with 'ours'. Doesn't he simply mena himself?" the PvdA leader, and current Deputy Prime Minister, said, according to broadcaster NOS.
In other political news, GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver announced that he wants to be Prime Minister. "The Netherlands needs a prime Minister who sticks to his ideals and I would like to be that Prime Minister", Klaver, the youngest party leader in The Hague, said at a party meeting in Nijmegen, NOS reports. He added that as Prime Minister he "will ont see the Netherlands as a business, but as a society. A society in which we treat each other with respect and where everyone belongs, regardless of their origin or background."
Klaver called on his "politically eft friends Asscher, [D66 leader Alexander] Pechtold and [SP leader Emile] Roemer to join hands and work together to fight poverty and injustice". According to Klaver, after 40 years it is time for a progressive government, and "to keep Rutte and Wilders off the next government."
SP leader Emile Roemer announced that his party will not be in a cabinet with the VVD. According to him, the political differences are unbridgeable. He wants to give the voter clarity on this before starting his party's election campaign, he said at a election congress in Tilburg. "Those who want to mobilize the social voter, does not calculatingly hold the cards against his chest, but provides a true and fair choice."